Well, it all stemmed from the planned Paris trip of Carolyn (and Clive) of My Sydney-Paris Life. I believe one day my friend Elizabeth in Cornwall (Gifts of the Journey) had commented on one of Carolyn's typically reflective posts and directed her readers over there (Elizabeth is very good at doing this). So I followed the link and began reading more and more of Carolyn's blogging. (Of course, I discovered Elizabeth herself from the heart of all blogs for me, Diana's Creative Structures. I believe she had commented on one of Diana's posts, and I followed her from there).
Carolyn is an American who's been in Australia for almost 15 years now -- she and her late husband moved there for her job when her son was just in fourth grade, and that son is now in his first post-college job in DC! Sadly Carolyn's husband passed away a few years ago, but she has found new love and blessings in her life with Clive . . . an Englishman in Australia!!! (This strikes me as funny that both are now "from Australia" although neither is Australian.)
As you can tell from the title of her blog, Paris holds a special place in Carolyn's life as well; she bought an apartment in the 16th years and years ago and loves to come soak up the city with whatever time she can get. She's found the ideal traveling (and life) companion in Clive, and you'll be astounded by their professional preparation schemes for their journeys --- plans which are clearly necessary given all the ground they cover on their trips. Their current trip, for example, started with a visit to New Jersey to visit Carolyn's mother; then down to DC to see her son; then they came over to Paris, where they're spending a couple of weeks; next they head up to London for a few days and then up to see Clive's father; and then hiking in Wales (Clive says he's making Carolyn climb to the top of Snowdon as if he were throwing down a challenge, but she looks like she's ready for anything).
Anyway, as Carolyn started blogging about her upcoming trip, some of the Paris bloggers she's in touch with got the idea of getting together while she's here, and in fact another blogging friend came and made her first trip from England to France just to be here! Credit for organizing goes to Leesa of News from France and for all-around rallying to Anne from Oxfordshire.
So yesterday we were 12 women -- some bloggers, some bloggers' pals -- and Clive for lunch in the 13th. We had hoped to go to the tea room (l'OisiveThé) of another blogger, but our group was just too big, we hadn't thought to reserve ahead, and poor Aimee was working alone and not feeling well on top of all that! So we moved to an Italian restaurant down the street, which was just fine (I'm still looking forward to checking out Aimee's tea room on my own time soon, check out the photos on her teashop blog for a look at her waaaay too charming space -- Amy Butler fabrics for tablecloths and everything).
It was a delightful few hours of getting to know people who had prior appeared only as pixels on my screen, and others I'd not met or known of at all -- people with all sorts of exotic stories and French husbands or American husbands sent to work in France. People expecting babies, people with one-year-olds, American girls like me still looking for their place in this expat, slightly discombobulated world. It's a wonderful place to be, but that doesn't mean it isn't sometimes unsettling.
The food wasn't anything to write home about, but it was just fodder. The atmosphere was luminous and convivial, and everyone was chattering so enthusiastically it created a wonderful energy in the group.
I can't tell you what a good time I had and how fun it was to meet some almost-imaginary friends, who are clearly every bit as wonderful as they appear to be in their writings and postings on line. It was a real privilege, and I look forward to keeping up the friendship.
Marco left his camera at our friends' on Easter, and I won't get it back until Thursday, so again, here's a picture from my camera of Carolyn, Clive, and me from lunch. To me, this photo is proof of friendships that can be made across vast oceans, and that is pretty stinkin' cool.